Monday, April 25, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Sources Say Progress is Being Made

In case you were wondering if the Lance Armstrong fraud and doping investigation was losing steam, according to VeloNation and some sources who have information on the investigation that VeloNation spoke with, the case against Armstrong is still progressing.

The article discusses, among other things, the implications of the Michelle Ferrari money trail stating:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

First Major Criminal Conviction Related to the Mortgage Meltdown

Lee Farkas in front of his private jet in 2005
The Justice Department is celebrating this week after finally landing a major criminal conviction in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown. The Justice Department was able to stick 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy on Lee Farkas in what is reported to be a $2.9 billion mortgage fraud scheme. Mr. Farkas operated a huge mortgage business, known as Taylor, Bean and Whitaker.

Taylor Bean apparently sold billions of dollars of mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and obtained loans from large U.S. and foreign banks that were collateralized with fictitious mortgages or mortgages already sold to others.

As is common with many fraudsters, Mr. Farkas had an appetite for material possessions that led him to spend at least $20 million of other peoples' money on things like fancy homes, classic cars and even a private jet (see the photo to the right). According to the NY Times,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Ferrari's Money Trail

CyclingNews is reporting some potentially key evidence in the Lance Armstrong investigation that started nearly a year ago when Floyd Landis accused Lance and his teams of systematic doping. The article said that an Italian newspaper is reporting that "the investigation headed by...Jeff Novitzky has evolved from a doping investigation into a financial investigation." The article explains that investigators are working to follow the money trail into and out of Michelle Ferrari's bank accounts and have seized his accounts to do so. As I told VeloNation last year...

Monday, April 18, 2011

What does LiveStrong and Three Cups of Tea have in Common?

A more direct question might be whether Lance Armstrong's charitable foundation, LiveStrong, is managed like Greg Mortenson, author of "Three Cups of Tea" is managing his charity, The Central Asia Institute (CAI). Mortenson became famous and influential when he published his inspiring stories about how he came to dedicate his life to helping educate women in Afghanistan and Pakistan in "Three Cups of Tea" and its sequel, "Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan." However, yesterday Mortenson was accused of committing fraud to create his initial success and lying about how he has used donations given to his charity to help educate the poor in these countries. According to a 60 Minutes report, Mortenson has been using his charity as a tool for self promotion and dipping into the piggy bank. In addition... 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: More Connections to Dr. Ferrari

Click Here for All Fraudbytes Posts on the Lance Armstrong Investigation

If you follow pro cycling, you probably know that Dr. Michelle Ferrari is one of, if not, the most controversial doping doctors in the world of cycling. He has been linked several times to doping and worked exclusively with Lance's teams when Lance won the Tour de France seven times. Lance worked with Ferrari since the mid 1990's until Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud seven years ago. At the time, Lance said he cut off all contact with Ferrari.

VeloNation is reporting today that an "Italian law enforcement official said today that (Lance Armstrong) met the controversial Italian doctor repeatedly since (formally claiming to have severed ties to Ferrari in 2004), including prior to his final Tour de France last July. The unnamed official spoke to AP on the subject, saying that the Texan met Ferrari ‘frequently,’ most often in St. Moritz in Switzerland, but also in Monaco." So what does this mean?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What Does Barry Bonds Say About It?

Actually, I don't know that Barry Bonds has said anything about Lance Armstrong's doping/fraud investigation. In fact, he tried not to say much in his testimony and that's what the jury didn't like about him. However, the Bonds case may have something to say about what will happen in Lance's case. I'll get back to that in a minute.

If you haven't heard, the Bonds trial is over and the jury found him guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and could not come to a unanimous decision about the other charges so the judge threw them out. Bonds could serve up to ten years for this one charge. However, other scenarios are pretty likely. For example...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Bicycling Magazine editor is convinced Lance is guilty

According to several news sourcesBicycling editor-at-large Bill Strickland has stated that he thinks Lance Armstrong is definitely guilty of doping. Here is a quote:
Strickland, who has followed Armstrong’s entire career and spent a season on tour with Armstrong’s team to pen 2010’s critically-acclaimed book Tour de Lance, writes that he has at last become convinced that Armstrong indeed doped during his career.
I think this is pretty significant since Bicycling magazine seems to be a politically correct magazine when it comes to publishing about the big players in the bike industry. Since they get ad money from all the major bike companies, including Trek who is pretty tight with Lance, I've always observed that they tend to say good things about everyone. For Strickland to say that he is convinced Lance has doped is like saying that Bicycling is willing to write off Lance and any companies that Lance has influence over.

Strickland also explains (albeit with a lot of ambiguity) what it took for him to come to this conclusion. Here is a key quote:

Fraud Professionals are the Real Winners in Madoff Case

The fees paid to fraud professionals such as attorneys, consultants and accountants to clean up the mess that Bernie Madoff's famous Ponzi scheme left is projected to reach over $1 billion! According to the Washington Post the fees paid to such professionals last year were almost $300 million and an additional $800 million is projected. Almost half of the fees went to the law firm of the trustee, Irving Picard. These fees are being criticized by those overseeing the case as described in the following quote from the Washington Post: